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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Electrified rat ‒ an Ikea hack

Crawling cables at home are like rats. I managed to hide all of them, except one that I need for my laptop. This is an original "IKEA hack" to disguise this last cable.

Crawling cables at home are like rats: ugly, always in your feet and gather load of dust. To power a laptop or an iron, I have been for a while somehow tolerating an extension cord getting out of below the sofa. It looked like... a rat. On the other hand IKEA rats are so soft and cute. It gave me the idea to hide the extension cord box inside a "Gosig Råtta", the IKEA rat.

(see also the updates and related stories and the various comments)

WARNING: Electricity can kill instantly, as well as causing fires. If you make your own, be responsible. Don't leave children nor pets play with such rat.

You need

  1. one Gosig Råtta
  2. one extension cord
  3. velcro bands
  4. basic sewing equipment


  1. unstitch the back of the rat, from the neck to the tail
  2. remove the tail and most of the stuffing
  3. sew vecro bands along the back opening
  4. insert the socket box in the rat

You get a cute happy "electrified" rat.


(see all pictures on flickr)


I posted this hack on IKEA hackers. There has been nice comments.

With a similar process, Dusan made a pretty cool hack with his rat: he is hiding inside the rat the central node of his home made temperature and humidity monitoring system. The antenna is hidden in the tail, and two indicator LEDs are in the eyes. Well done!

They talk about it


  1. great! I'm going to try it too!!!

  2. Genial post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

  3. Danger d'incendie!
    This looks like a house fire waiting to happen.

    While I think the end result is very cute, c'est dangereux!

    Please be careful and do not leave it plugged in unsupervised.

  4. You can get a fire retardant spray that'll make it a lot safer. Theatrical suppliers stock them, I've used them on paper candle lanterns and they are GOOD.

  5. Love it. What a great idea.

  6. Thank you all for the nice comments!

    Regarding electricity and fire, I don't see how electricity would jump out of the box, nor how this is different from a socket on a carpet?

    Of course everybody is responsible on how to handle electricity at home. For example I would not leave children or pets alone with this rat. I add a note.

    Retardant spray is probably a good hint.

  7. Maybe you should submit this to the Ikea hackers!!

  8. Yes, I posted it there some time ago, see? It reminds me I have another one to post (another hack, not another rat ;)

  9. it is very very dangerous!!! Do you know what are the safety regulations? Jusus Christ!

  10. Dear Anonymous,

    Could you give the reference to the regulations you are mentioning? Could you also explain the physical phenomenon in action? How is it dangerous?

    I hear you screaming, but I still don't see the danger. Screaming and swearing does not help to understand.

  11. I think it looks totally great. The fire risk is from heat, not the electricity jumping out. Extension leads get hot, especially one that has multiple sockets. If you were to plug in 3 high power appliances like a heater and a vacuum cleaner or something similar, you could overload it and it will overheat. Depending on how good the fuse is in it it may stop working immediately or it may get very hot before it stops working. Ordinarily, the overheating would not be too much of a problem, but when you surround it with something that will help it to overheat and is made of flammable material, you have creted a very dangerous fire hazard.

    I understand this is only a possible risk, and would not necessarily happen, but that is the entire point in electrical risk management.

    Cheap extension leads, timer switches and other mains electrical equipment are major major causes of house fires. That's without stuffed rats.

    1. Thank You for your detailed explanation! Rational explanations are a must when we talk about risks.

      I understand very well that such rat reduces heat dissipation. This is a clear fact. Is it significant? I don't know. To heat a socket to the point that it melts and catches fire, you need a really strong electric flow, like several high power appliances together, as you said. It means that you already failed to follow common safety recommendations and triggered a high risk for fire. And of course, under such heavy conditions, the socket's fuse should jump far before serious heating. That's what the fuses are meant for. If it fails, that a second major security failure. After these two major failures, does the rat increases the risk of fire in a significant way? This is not obvious.

      I am using this rat socket occasionally, it's always at sight, under control, and so far I have never noticed the slightest heating.

      Modern electric installations following European regulations (or similar) are pretty safe. I am personally much more worried by old electric installations, old appliances, or... a socket extension hidden under a pile of clothes, for example.

      All in all, I really hope that people understand that this rat is more like a joke for occasional use: it's meant to be unplugged, right out under the sofa. It's really not meant to plug multiple permanent high power appliances. That's safety common sense, I would say.

  12. Hello... I have used this hack in one of mine projects. I have mentioned you on my blog (http://quo.vadis.stojkovic.ch/monitor-t-and-rh/)...


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